Roughly six months ago, on a chilly October morning, the government of Canada began its legalization of cannabis. Throngs of Canadians, eager to make history, lined up around the blocks of legal dispensaries to buy their first gram of a new era. Scores of netizens took to provincial website retailers to do the same, crashing sites and causing massive shipping disruptions in the process. In short: people were very excited.
So now, six months on, how has legalization fared. Has the overall impression of the Great Canadian experiment changed? Has their been any meaningful impact on crime, one way or the other? How have the provinces fared in rolling out the new legislation? In this post, let’s do a biannual check-in on how legalization has fared in the great white north.
While hardline opinions about legalization were never likely to change (at least not in a half year), across Canada there appears to be a growing acceptance of the plant. There was no doomsday event, no real macro-impact on productivity, no disruptions in daily civic life – all the bad things that were foretold never came to pass.
In a Government of Canada poll, respondents ranked cannabis only behind alcohol in a list of socially acceptable substances, ahead of tobacco. That alone signals a growing acceptance of cannabis – although it could be quite some time before it reaches the level of acceptance alcohol enjoys.
Impact on Crime?
“The sky has not fallen”, declared the Calgary police. There has been no hike in the crime, nor impact on societal issues. While the police were quick to follow up their statement by adding that it was probably still too early to tell, they seem unworried by the legislation.
A Broader Understanding of Cannabis
One thing is certain in the wake of legalization: innovation surrounding the substance has only continued to grow. Companies are packaging gourmet edibles, food additives, and there are premium infused hemp teas hitting the market that play with the unique flavours of the plant. Without the bureaucratic red tape breathing down their necks, companies are now free to explore different facets of cannabis, pushing it beyond simply smoke.
Brick and Mortar Hiccups
While many provinces were quick to roll out the necessary storefronts to meet the demand, a couple notable exceptions lagged behind. Most notably, Ontario, Canada’s biggest province, only sold cannabis through a provincial, online site. On April 1st, the province finally opened doors on its first brick and mortar retailer, but the inconvenience of its initial rollout remains a sore point for many Ontarians.
Altogether, Canada’s legalization of cannabis appears to be going smoothly, which is good news for citizens of other countries hoping their governments will follow suit. The Canadian experiment is still very much of global interest, and its relative success over the past half-year could signal a worldwide shift toward cannabis acceptance. It might still be too early to tell, but the forecast looks good.